What Is Coil Occlusion?

Coil occlusion is a minimally invasive, image-guided therapy used to treat cerebral aneurysms, also known as a brain aneurysm, which causes bleeding in the brain. Coil occlusion can help prevent a rupture, which decreases the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, or treat a ruptured brain aneurysms to prevent re-bleeding.

Coil occlusion typically takes three to four hours under general anesthesia and usually requires a 48-hour stay at the hospital for observation. During this procedure our interventional radiologists thread a thin catheter through the blood vessels to the point of the aneurysm to place soft metal coils. Once the coils are in place, blood clots around them, blocking off the neck of the aneurysm and restoring normal bloodflow.

How to Prepare for Coil Occlusion

  • Consultation - Anyone undergoing planned coil occlusion must be evaluated by our staff prior to the procedure. During pre-admission testing, we will ask if you are allergic to any contrast. You will also see an anesthesiologist at Mass General to check on your cardiovascular status prior to having general anesthesia. 
  • When to Arrive - Arrival time varies according to procedure. We will tell you what time to arrive when you make your appointment.
  • Contrast - This procedure uses IV contrast, which helps the interventional radiologists see inside your body more clearly. We carefully assess your risk before giving you IV contrast and may run a blood test before your procedure to check your body chemistry.
  • Eating - Please do not eat solid foods, candy or gum after 10 pm on the night before your procedure. We may need to reschedule your procedure if you do. 
  • Drinking - Please drink only clear liquids after 10 pm on the night before your procedure. Stay hydrated by drinking one or two tall glasses every one to two hours while you are awake. Please stop drinking anything three hours before your procedure. 
  • Medication - Please take your regularly scheduled medications with a sip of water. If you are currently taking any anti-coagulation medications, such as Coumadin®, Eliquis® or Plavix®, please call your referring physician for holding instructions at least five days before your procedure.

What to Expect After Coil Occlusion

After coil occlusion, we will have you stay in the hospital as long as necessary to recover. If your procedure was done as a preventative measure, we will admit you to the hospital for 48 hours so we can monitor your condition.

Once you return home, you should take it easy for a few days and avoid any strenous activity for 10 days such as vigorous exercise. Most people can return to a normal level of activity in one to three weeks.